Stress Not!

Ever wish the rollercoaster of life would slow down just a little? Many of us probably expected life in the 21st century to be a lot easier and less stressful. Yet the reality is that stress levels are rising and the happiness quotient is falling. We try to do more, faster, in less time, and we are challenged to cope with a pace of change like no other generation.

At work, stress is our number one enemy. It is the main cause of absenteeism and lack of productivity, and it also produces a breakdown of relationships. It is spreading like a wild epidemic and unfortunately we have made it one of our closest companions. So maybe it's time to stop, listen and see why it affects us so deeply and more painfully than ever before.

An understanding of the term "stress" originates in physics. If we were to draw a parallel between this mechanistic view and our life, we would see how our life has indeed become stiff and unyielding, prone to heat and pressure. Physics has proven that an object can withstand so much stress before breaking, and so too, we each have our own breaking point. Hence, it is imperative that we learn the art of defusing stressful emotions before they blow our fuses.

Our adrenal hormones still cause us to feel like fighting or fleeing, but unfortunately we only end up fighting with ourselves and running into the inner cave. Very few of us actually face conflicts or tensions head-on and deal with them face to face. Much of our stress comes from denial, avoidance or evasion of the subject or situation. These reactions in turn create a negative effect on the mind and body and give birth to a whole host of sicknesses.

It is agreed that stress cannot be prevented, but it can be managed. To manage stress we have to understand ourselves in order to identify our stress triggers. This requires honesty and a deep inner silence. As we embark on managing stress, we must realize that to understand ourselves is not a simple task. We are not an open book, even to ourselves, and so we must consider life as a journey, a process of rediscovery.

Here's a helpful tip: When stress is compelling you to react, ask yourself: "Will what I'm about to say or do help me rise above or pull me down"? Just a moment's pause, a reflection, is enough to de-fuse some of the energy of stressful emotions and give your mind the clarity to find a creative response that will channel the energy in a more productive direction. Compassion is important in forgiving ourselves when reactions get the better of us. Don't be discouraged if at first you don't succeed; activate humility to keep trying with an honest heart. Gradually you will come to know the joy of being the conqueror of stress and consign this enemy to history forever.

Om Shanti
(I am a peaceful soul)

Contributed by Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization. Please visit or call 617-926-1230 to learn more about the Brahma Kumaris Learning Center for Peace in Watertown, MA.